Here at Lindy’s Cakes we are asked questions all the time. Interestingly we receive many more questions about baking then we ever do about cake decorating!! Now I love baking and have been baking for as long as I can remember. However, I know that many of you are very new to this fascinating science and often need a little help and guidance. I, therefore, thought I’d share a few more tips and ideas with you in the form of questions and answers – here’s the first:
Is there a nut-free alternative to ground almonds?
I am baking cakes for a charity tea and I want to use a cake recipe which includes ground almonds. However, an increasing number of people have nut allergies so I was wondering if there a nut-free alternative you could recommend which will give a nice crunch and moist texture?
Why ground almonds are used in cakes
Ground almonds are often added to cakes to add moisture. They are also sometimes used to replace wheat flour to make a gluten-free cake suitable for coeliacs.
Ground almond alternatives
When substituting ground almonds with another ingredient it’s important to consider how much of the cake is made up of nuts. If it is a large amount then you are unlikely to find a successful substitute. If this is the case I suggest using a different recipe!
Possible alternatives for replacing smaller amounts of ground almonds in a recipe include breadcrumbs, ground rice, semolina and polenta but the results will vary according to the individual recipe, so each recipe will need to be tried and tested.
- Uncooked semolina has a similar texture to ground almonds. It was used during the war as a substitute when making a mock almond paste. Semolina can make the recipe slightly drier and it has a courser texture but is usually a perfectly acceptable alternative.
- Ground rice, which isn’t as finely ground as rice flour. It has a reasonably similar texture to ground almonds and is worth a try.
- Fine ground polenta (cornmeal), has an interesting texture when used in cakes. I love it but not everyone does, you can find a lovely lemon polenta recipe in my ‘bake me I’m yours…cupcake celebration’ book
If the almonds in the recipe are just there for flavour try, substituting with the equal weight of plain or wholemeal flour plus vanilla essence or lemon juice. Note, however, wheat flour and nut flours are not interchangeable. The protein, fats and moisture are totally different, not to mention the gluten aspect.
More experimental alternatives
If you want to be a little more experimental when substituting a nut-free alternative to ground almonds, try using something a little different. Crushed Cornflakes, Weetabix or Rice Crispies, oatmeal that has been ground to a finer consistency or even crushed biscuits. Who knows, you might come up with a winning recipe.
Hope this helps…..I’d love to hear about your successes and triumphs – do share
If you’d prefer to ‘play safe’ and bake tried and tested recipes, visit our recipe category for recipes to try.
Good luck and happy baking
“Bringing world-class sugarcraft into your kitchen”